In 1978 Bob and Beverly Bowlsby acquired a small building products company in the hopes of gaining a solid entrepreneurial investment. Most of this struggling business created more debt than it was worth, however it did come with the contractual rights to represent Spacesaver Corporation in the Oregon and Washington markets. Little did they know that these business rights would lead to the development of their successful family business as one of our area’s most innovative storage solution companies.
Bob and Bev decided to pursue the Spacesaver installation business, and so they moved into a small 9’ x 9’ office space off Barber Boulevard. With Bob at the helm selling and installing their Spacesaver systems and Bev holding down the fort answering phones for new contracts, the Bowlsby’s slowly paid off creditors and started hiring their first full-time employees. Finally, in 2001 they moved their now full-grown family business to Tualatin, OR where they are today. The Spacesaver Business Center is an impressive 30,000 square foot facility, complete with 12,000 sq. ft. of warehouse space and 17 happy employees. The Bowlsby’s son-in-law, Jim McCord, serves as the company’s President, keeping Spacesaver Specialists together as a true family-run business.
Tom Miller has been with Spacesaver Specialists for over 31 years as the General Manager in charge of sales and marketing at their Spacesaver Business Center. As one of Bob and Bev’s first few full-time employees on a team of 7, he has been with the company almost since it’s inception in 1978.
“You do all kinds of stuff in a little business, which is what makes it so interesting,” Tom says about his long career with Spacesaver Specialists. “I do the sales, the marketing, and I’m the jailhouse lawyer,” he says jokingly.
Tom is not joking about the caliber and quality of the work he does with the Spacesaver team. “We do a lot of Gee Whiz stuff,” Tom explains. “At the Marcus Mariotta Center we have a 20-foot-wide door that retracts into the ceiling… that makes the students say ‘WHOA!’”
What problem does your product or service solve?
“We solve the inefficient use of space,” Tom says directly.
As a licensed General Contractor, Spacesaver Specialists offer full space-saving services from design to construction. Their ultimate goal has always been to assist end-users in developing efficient, cost effective space utilization solutions at no out-of-pocket cost to their clients.
“It’s very difficult for people to understand what we do,” Tom says, “One of the difficulty’s we have is that people can see our unique systems, they can push buttons in powered systems, they can see the amazing mechanics, and they still can’t relate it to, ‘How can I use that? How is that going to be a benefit to me? They can’t get beyond the Gee-Whiz stuff.’”
It’s true that Spacesaver Solutions deals in a TON of Gee-Whiz, from their installations at the Marcus Mariota Center at the University of Oregon in Eugene (see link below) to specialized storage for branches of our Military, and the unique racking systems at Library’s all over the Portland Metropolitan Area. What is so incredible about their products is not only how they can be adapted to solve any degree of storage or space issues, but the creative minds behind their technology who can design a fully-customized system unique to each individual’s needs. Each customer is treated like gold, with a true focus on customer service that only a small family business can provide.
Spacesaver Solutions – Marcus Mariota Center, U of O
What is your business philosophy?
The amazing team at Spacesaver Specialists will never charge for assessing a problem, discussing what you may need or what you would like to explore installing. They are relationship builders, working to ensure the long-term satisfaction of their clients with products that will last for years and years.
“We’ve never had the ambition to grow just for the sake of growing,” explains Tom regarding the customer-focused operations at Spacesaver Specialists. “If a customer asks, ‘Can you do this?’ or ‘Can you do that?’, we can make a decision in a matter of minutes. It doesn’t get bogged down.” Tom tells us this is one of the reasons why working for a small family business is so wonderful.
Whether it’s the reorganization of your inventory storage system or the archive of your Natural History Museum, Spacesaver Specialists has the knowledge and skill to utilize your space to it’s fullest and most efficient potential.
How does your business give back to the community?
“One of the most interesting things we got involved in several years ago was the Tualatin’s first Food Pantry,” Tom says about Spacesaver Specialists’ Community works. When the Rolling Hills Church offered up a large space in their basement to the program, Tom and his team were brought in to design and install the grocery storage systems for the Schoolhouse Pantry. They even worked with a few of their partners to procure shelving units from local Fred Meyer Stores without charge, helping to create the shopping experience that the Tualatin Food Pantry is known for today.
If you could say one thing to the people of Tualatin, what would it be?
“Thank you for having us in your community!” Tom exclaims. “We are just happy to be here. This is a great community and a great place to be.”
When asked if there was anything else he would like people to know about Spacesaver Specialists, he says, “We are contractors, so we have been working all year. This year we have installed systems for Hayworth Field, the Sandy Forest Service, and lockers for the Multnomah County Courthouse.”
Much of the work that Spacesaver Specialists do is for Public contracts, which means they are able to complete any size project on all budget levels and with the skill and service needed to fulfill State, County and City requirements. If you are in need of these skilled specialists to consult on your space, please contact Tom and his team using the information below!